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End of the Tour
BLU-RAY disk
12.08.2015 By: Jason Adams
End of the Tour order download
Director:
James Ponsoldt

Actors:
Jason Segel
Jesse Eisenberg
Mamie Gummer

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In 1996, Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky spends a week with author David Foster Wallace during the book tour for Infinite Jest.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

As a fan of David Foster Wallace, I was sure that a film about his life, no matter how well-intentioned, was a bad idea. Thankfully, THE END OF THE TOUR proves me wrong.

Based on David Lipsky's memoir (and his personal taped interviews with Wallace), END OF THE TOUR manages to come up with a good way to honor Wallace admirably and honestly without doing a traditional biopic. The movie opens with news of the author's suicide, opting not to overdramatize the eventual ending and instead focus on his life during a small slice of it. SPECTACULAR NOW director James Ponsoldt keeps things fairly simple and straightforward, allowing the two actors to carry pretty much the entire film with their performances. And even though it's essentially an entire movie of two people talking, it still manages to be an emotional, heartfelt and often funny story.

Jason Segel, who actually looks quite a bit like Wallace, disappears in to the role giving, a career-best performance. There's almost a mythic quality to his portrayal of the author, despite how much of an everyman he wants to be. Segel's nuanced, likeable version of Wallace balances his status as being the knowing voice of a generation without doesn't shy away from displaying his self-consciousness, fears, and depression. Jesse Eisenberg plays a variation of his usual role as the brash, semi-neurotic Lipskey, but he's a great mirror and catalyst to Segel's character. Together their chemistry traverses serious topics of life and humanity with discussions about jerking off and Alanis Morrisette. There are bit parts with Joan Cusack, Anna Chlumsky, and Mamie Gummer, but the entire film is pretty much just Segel and Eisenberg and their great chemistry.

THE END OF THE TOUR is a solid film whether you're a fan of David Foster Wallace or have only seen his name at the bookstore. You actually learn quite about the author, his work and his back story, without having to sit through a condensed version of his life.

THE EXTRAS

Commentary with director James Ponsoldt, writer Donald Margulies and Jason Segel: Very rarely nowadays do I find commentary tracks worth it, but this one is a great listen. The three cover in-depth the careful task of making the movie, the actors' real life counterparts, and more. Segel is fairly reserved talking about Wallace, so expect an informative commentary rather than a funny one.

Behind the Tour (24:41): Another solid feature, this Making Of focuses more on interesting interviews and behind-the-scenes footage than your typical PR piece.

A Conversation with Composer Danny Elfman (8:24): I had no idea Elfman did the score for this movie, so it's nice to hear him talk about his atypical work on this movie, as well as a little bit of his history as a composer.

Deleted Scenes (7:30): Seven short bits of conversation between Wallace and Lipsky that didn't make the final cut. Most are more of the same and would've hurt the pacing of the movie.

A Digital Copy is also included.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

THE END OF THE TOUR is an intimate revealing look at David Foster Wallace, centered around stellar performances from Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg. With some solid special features, this Blu Ray is recommended for fans and non-fans alike.

Extra Tidbit: The screenwriter was one of director James Ponsoldt's professors in college.

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